The Government has unveiled plans that it hopes will see the UK become the best broadband network in Europe by 2015.
The plans were outlined today by Jeremy Hunt, Secretary for State of Olympics, Culture, Media and Sport.
"A superfast network will be the foundation for a new economic dynamism, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and adding billions to our GDP," said Mr Hunt during a speech at Reform.
An ambition to deliver a digital hub in every community in the country is at the heart of the £830 million strategy to drive the UK's online services forward, particularly in rural communities.
'Digital hubs' would see a central digital point in every community – preferably community broadband hubs – with a high speed connection to the nearest exchange. Communities would then take responsibility for extending the network to individual homes.
Other plans include:
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said that the UK is already in a relatively strong position, with one of the most competitive broadband markets in the world.
Figures show that more than 70% of households subscribe to broadband and nearly 50% of all homes have access to a superfast 50Mbps service.In addition, a number of providers are investing in extending and improving the UK's existing super fast broadband infrastructure.
However, those in rural locations have long suffered from poor internet speeds, as their homes are so far away from internet exchanges.
"Rolling out superfast broadband is probably the single most important thing we can do to ensure the sustainability of our rural communities in the 21st Century and end the digital divide," said Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
"Reliable internet access is vital for business and education, and will help to promote social inclusion and improve life in rural areas right across the country. The new broadband strategy is a vital part of our commitment to improving the lives of people living in rural communities."
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